The Cure Bloodflowers (Elektra/Fiction)

Bloodflowers (Elektra/Fiction)

Record Reviews

The Cure

Bloodflowers (Elektra/Fiction)

Is that all there is? Robert Smith is enigmatically coy (of course) as to Bloodflowers being the Cure's valediction, but it sure feels like something's over. Half the fun is playing spot the not-quite-oblique allusions to the end: "Out of This World" cries "we always have to go back to real lives"; "The Loudest Sound" has "nothing left to say"; "39" notices "the fire is almost out," and so on. Then again, the refrain of "Watching Me Fall" is "the night is always young," so who knows? The rest of Bloodflowers' appeal lies in its nine nocturnes' smoldering arrangements; the lush, sprawling music is at least on par with 1989's gloom gem Disintegration. "Out of this World" and "The Loudest Sound" are each lengthy embellishments of a glassy, legato guitar line, equal parts melancholy and grace. The roiling "39" is a whirl of slinky strings, caustic rock guitar, and a relentless rhythm ostinato. "Maybe Someday" and "There Is No If ... " are the closest things to pop songs here, if pop songs can still be dense, ornate, and heart-rending. The tender "If ... " is achingly exquisite, but Bloodflowers' pièce de résistance is the 11-minute slow burn "Watching Me Fall." An acoustic pulse, crescendoing fuzzy waves of guitar, and Debussy-ish dynamic shifts surround Smith as he fever dreams of the great unknown -- the future. If Bloodflowers is these imaginary boys' curtain call, this gorgeous, crimson-hued sunrise of an album draws the shades in style. The forest won't be the same without 'em.


A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
... And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead
X: The Godless Void and Other Stories (Record Review)

Alejandra Ramirez, Feb. 21, 2020

Texas Platters
Daniel Johnston
Chicago 2017 (Record Review)

Raoul Hernandez, Feb. 21, 2020

More by Christopher Gray
Margaret Moser Tribute: Alvin Crow
Alvin Crow
Summer camp with the kids

June 30, 2017

Margaret Moser Tribute: The Rolling Stones
The Rolling Stones
That Margaret Moser, she’s a rainbow

June 30, 2017

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle